At the first West Baton Rouge Parish council meeting in January, the council approved new policy to regulate speed bumps in the parish.
Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot said some areas were in desperate need of speed control but that speed bumps soon became a quick solution to the problem.
The newly created and approved policy maintains that speed bumps are “last resort measures,” following meetings with local law enforcement and a 60-day period for local law enforcement to “alleviate the speeding problem.”
If speeding along parish-maintained roads is not resolved by then, the parish council member for that district may request an “official petition for the installation of speed control devices,” according to the policy.
The petition will then circulate to residents where at least 75% of the property owners along the street in question must sign the petition in favor of speed bumps. Only one person may sign per household.
By signing the petition, Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot said residents are agreeing to the placement of speed control devices within 200 feet or less of their property.
“People say, ‘I want them, but don’t put them in my yard. Don’t put them in front of my house.’ So if you sign this petition, it may very well be in your front yard,” Berthelot said.
According to the petition document, residents are also signing that they understand: “the placement of speed control devices might negatively impact response times for emergency vehicles.”
Speed bumps would only be installed on straight sections of roadway where the speed limit is between 25 and 35 miles per hour. According to the policy, speed bumps must be in place for at least one year before the parish council will consider a “petition for removal or relocation.”
Councilman Chris “Fish” Kershaw said he would vote against the measure, as he believes speed bumps are a law enforcement issue, not a parish council issue.
Council woman Charlene Gordon said, “If we are installing them, it is our business.”
“I don’t care if we put in speed bumps or not, but we need some type of policy,” Berthelot said.
Councilman Ricky Loupe said the new policy would actually prevent too many speed bumps from being installed.
The council approved the policy 8 to 1. Kershaw voted against the measure.
The parish council also approved a solid waste collection contract renewal with Allied Waste Services.
West Baton Rouge Parish, the town of Addis and the town of Brusly have a concurrent five-year contract with Allied Waste Services that began in 2009 and ends in 2014. However, by renewing now, Chief of Administration Jason Manola said the residents and the businesses of West Baton Rouge Parish would see lower rates for the next five years.
Currently, Allied Waste Services conducts once-weekly recycling in West Baton Rouge Parish with 18-gallon recycle bins. Under the contract renewal, 96-gallon recycle carts would replace the current bins free of charge.
Spokesperson for Allied Waste Services Karla Swacker said bin replacement can begin in February or March. “What we will do is drive around on recycle days and have a truck that follows the regular collection truck,” she said. “If you’ve got your bin out, they’ll pick up your bin and leave you a cart.”
Swacker said the benefit of having larger recycle carts is that, “More people participate, and that’s what it’s all about.”